Evaluation of a ZrO<sub>2</sub> Composite Membrane in PEM Fuel Cells Operating at High Temperature and Low Relative Humidity
AbstractA composite membrane containing ZrO2 was tested under simulated and real fuel cell operations. To simulate the fuel cell environment, the composite membrane was tested on a gated cell at low relative humidity (10 %) and high temperature (100 °C). The water flux on the composite membrane was found to be higher than a commercial membrane (Nafion 115), suggesting that under these conditions water molecules are entrapped into the membrane matrix via dipole – dipole interactions. Under real operation conditions, ZrO2 membranes showed better performance at high temperature (140 °C) and low relative humidity (22.9 %) than the commercial Nafion Membrane. The performance results confirmed that composite membranes retain water and help to maintain the membrane hydration. The aging cycle (1750 cycles) showed that the composite membrane under study is stable under extreme operation conditions (22.9% RH and 120 °C).
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